UPDATE: Chiesi Pleads Guilty, Won’t Cooperate Against Rajaratnam

Jan 19 2011 | 9:09pm ET

A key figure in the Galleon Group insider-trading case has pleaded guilty, netting prosecutors their 15th guilty plea in the massive investigation.

Danielle Chiesi, until last month the co-defendant of Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam, said she was “deeply ashamed” of passing on confidential tips and trading on them at hedge fund New Castle Partners. Chiesi pleaded guilty to three counts of securities fraud as part of a plea deal; she faces almost four years in prison when she is sentenced in May.

Chiesi’s plea deal does not include an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors and she will not testify against Rajaratnam, whose trial begins next month.

“I apologize to the court and I take full responsibility,” a tearful Chiesi told U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell. She admitted leaking non-public information about Advanced Micro Devices, IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems to her boss at New Castle, Mark Kurland, and others. Kurland has also pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to more than two years in prison.

“By crossing the line on those occasions, I ruined a 20-year career in my field and brought disrepute to what was an honorable profession,” Chiesi said.

Chiesi’s plea deal calls for a sentence of between 37 months and 46 months. She will also have to forfeit assets, but her lawyer said it won’t be anywhere near the $4 million in illicit profits she is accused of earning at New Castle.

“She did not trade for her own account,” Alan Kaufman told Reuters.


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